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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 9, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm EST

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approval. so we believe that the inner state compact vote is only obviously taking advantage of state power. the supreme court called this a plenary -- we don't believe as it stands it needs approval. however if a court rules that it does require congressional approval, we would be coming to congress seeking approval at a time when states representing 270 electors, therefore a majority of the country and majority of congress have enacted this bill, and presumably we look forward to working with you to get approval. i will leave it there and i thank the members for their time. >> thank you very much, sir. our last person, thomas neal is a specialist with the congressional research service. he will not give an opening statement, but is available as a resource to answer any member's
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questions that may arise. and so with that, we want to begin some brief questioning by the members of the panel, and it's my pleasure to recognize first representative bobby scott of virginia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as i said in my hoping comments, most of the comments, virtually all of the comments are based on the mathematical curiosity that the electoral college and popular vote may not agree. if you are counting electoral votes and that's what you count, like in the world series you can get outscored and still win. we heard a lot about the swing states. if -- one thing about a swing state is it assumes that you have in the bag enough to get close to 270 and so you are going to spend your time on the last couple of states. just like if a president is trying to get a bill passed,
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when you get close to 218 in the house, a handful of members get all the attention. 51 senators, you get up to 46, 47, those last few senators will get all the attention. but that assumes that you have in the bag enough to get you close. and again, in the electoral college, you have to have -- you have to be able to carry states that amount to on a weighted basis 270 electoral votes, half of the country. if you do not have that, then swing states don't have any meaning at all. the question that i have asked is how things will change. if you can get credit for running up the score in a state you already have in the bag, rather than spending your time trying to get from 49 to 51 in a swing state, is that a good change or a bad change and what kind of different candidates would be elected. we've heard recount, i think the idea you are going to do a national recount is absurd. you will not be able to do that. you are going to have state
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secretaries of state that you don't trust any further than you can throw them coming up with numbers that are just not credible on their face and what are you going to do in that situation. different states have different election laws, states of the same size are casting vastly different kind of votes, but again, campaigning strategy, what -- how would the campaigning strategy differ on a straight popular vote and is that change good or bad and what kind of candidates would get elected. finally a regional candidates, strong in one region running against two, three people strong in their region, would that -- you don't have that now because if you are a regional candidate you don't have a credible shot at 270. how is that -- would that be a good change or a bad change and what kind of candidates would be elected, would that be better for the country or worse? those are the focus that i like to see, not little mathematical
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curiosity you can win one and lose the other. >> would you like any one of our witnesses to respond? >> the other questioners ask questions we'll hopefully get answers to those questions. >> i turn to the distinguished lady from texas, sheila jackson lee. >> i think i come away from this hearing with the conclusion that it's going to be a tough fight, but it is a worthwhile fight and i believe it has to be done. i still go back to the historical fixture that the electoral college is and i think that the underlying premise is the lack of trust of the american population at that time. and their capacity to elect the leader of the nation albeit small or smaller at that time. so one thing that i want -- i
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wasn't sure what you were saying, but i don't want to correct if you had an interpretation that i said that the electoral college was borne out of slavery, know it was not started in 1888 it was started before that. so i think you misheard me. what i said was that elections have consequences. one of the consequences was the unfortunate compromise between hayes and tilden, tilden getting the popular vote and by the compromise of mr. hayes, getting to the the leader of the free world, the south received a bonus of removing the union soldiers and the firewall that protected -- that protected the southern opportunities for freed
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slaves who were then governors, senators and congress people. my analysis was elections have consequences, the consequences of the individual who will listen to the office and be major cuts in medicare, medicaid, a tax system that will break the backs of most working americans, elimination of the affordable care act, seemingly ignoring conflict of interests and also looking to undermine laws that had a separation of military and civilians. i wanted to make sure i clarified that i didn't associate electoral college with slavery. what i do want to ask and i would like mr. mara -- i think it was prover ceyserr who made the point about the prak tours of the popular vote, a number of you did, and i want to thank you
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the gentleman from arizona, gives me hope, because it is not a partisan issue. it seems that way now, but it is not a partisan issue. if we ultimately get what we might desire, five, ten, 15 years from now, if the popular vote rules, maybe our only challenges will be, was it counted. and we have to accept what happened. so i would be interested more importantly, the value of a 50 state campaign, in some way, shape or fashion, campaigns will always try to get around doing, you know, doing work. but i think you have a greater chance if you rely on the popular vote for candidates to say i'm going to try and get the vote everywhere i can get the vote and speak to national issues. but the congressional premise that the only way to do is it the amendment, if you have done some congressional work or done some work about the fractures of the potential impact, meaning that states could gain the
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system, i would be interested. the last point is i want to acknowledge justin nelson, a young man who is now just had a press conference on one nation, one vote, i think we should think about young people. he has taken his frustration and put it into a nonprofit which he thinks will draw young people around the nation to talk about one person, one vote. we've got to think about the political aspect, how you are literally dousing the hopes and dreams of a younger generation that are literal. you vote, your vote counts, you help elect a president or someone or not. and that's going to be the larger population of voters. what are we telling them after this election that despite whether or not the numbers were up or down. those who voted heavily weighted their vote. and so as the new voters come into this voting process, i really think we're going to have to have an answer if we're going
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to continue to encourage them to be part of the par tis pa tore democracy and i welcome thoughts on those points. i yield back. >> thank you so much. i now turn to the distinguished gentleman from georgia, mr. hank johnson. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to know from particularly from professor raycove and keysar the answer to this question, to what extent did america's history of slavery shape the development of the electoral college and were there any other historical conditions, political concerns or interests that motivated the framers to establish the indirect selection of the priesident and vice president and do those conditions and concerns still
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exist? >> thank you, sir. is there someone going to respond to this? >> can we -- can you -- >> everyone -- yes. starting with our first witness. >> pick your choice. >> i will try to actually engage all of them because these are the questions that have obsessed me for the last 20 years. and they're actually are answers to some of these specific questions. so candidates will -- well campaign differently, you change the rules, you change the game. my claim is look to the states, we have governors, we have governors of big states, diverse states that have big cities and excerpts and rural areas, states of california and texas and i don't think they have campaigned in ways that should make us anxious about using that
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template nationally. now, there are recounts in states. california is a big state. you have to manage recount. i share representative scott's concern that a national recount raises some distinct issues. let me tell you that in 2000, it was clear nationally who won the popular vote. al gore won by more than half a million votes, yet we had to do recounts in three different states, florida, new mexico and new hampshire, take the most recent election. it's clear who won nationally, is actually less than completely clear who won in michigan or maybe wisconsin or maybe pennsylvania so we're going to have recounts either way, in recent history in fact, the national has been clear, the states have actually been unclear and we've had more
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recount problems, but here is where i agree with representative scott completely. if you actually have a national popular vote, you are going to need a national recount system, a national oversight, you can't leave it to the secretaries of state of the different states and that is going to require congressional oversight. whether or not the compact strictly speaking requires congressional oversight under the compact clause of the constitution and professor ray cove things it does and i have heard maybe it doesn't. i'm actually on the constitutional issue i think with professor ray cove, if i weren't as a practical matter the system will not work without congressional over site. because states that are not in the compact may try to game it in all sorts of ways, they may not participate in recounts they may not be helpful, they may come in and out, as professor mentioned. so you are going to need national over sight in order
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to -- i say that to you all with due respect as one -- actually who is brainchild, the national popular vote interstate compact was. it emerged from two ideas independently of dean and professor robert bennett at the northwestern law school and yours truly in 2001 and way back when i saw the promise of it, but there are these technical problems and the system will not work without congressional oversight which will require national recount possibilities, that's different to say oh, that's different from the governors, so point taken. finally, it is not a partisan measure and i'm delighted that we have republicans as well as democrats here testifying, in 2004, john kerry could have easily, had he had more popularity in ohio, had he been born in ohio or something, 60,000 votes changed hands in ohio, he wins the electoral
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college while losing the national popular vote by 3 million. i don't think there is a partisan skew today, that's why i was joking earlier, there would be a partisan skew if we went to congressional districts, if we went to state proportion nalt. that would in fact skew the system to the republican party in ways i could go into. right now, it's not particularly partisan. we have on regional candidates, we don't have them for governors in california, texas, pennsylvania, we actually do have them for the electoral college, their names are strom they are man and george wallace and mcmullin, we have them more for the electoral college than states, because the electoral college fractures the -- even if you want win nationally you can be a spoiler and throw things into the house of representatives and change the whole outcome and be the king maker, we have a bigger problem with regional candidates and
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spoilers, whether their names are mcmullin, or john anderson than we have for governors. on slavery, one point even though the question wasn't addressed to me, the role that slavery played is not merely at the founding in philadelphia, but in particular with the amendment of the system after two elections in which a southerner jefferson ran against a northern adams, and the northerner won both times. the 12th amendment was obviously a slavery skew, without the extra votes created by slavery, john adams wins that second election, 13 extra electoral votes. my friend jack is shaking his head, i can show you that that is what every adams supporter says, including people in this house, who actually say we was robbed, 13 electoral votes
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because of slavery. now it's complicated because you change the rules and you change the game. if the south didn't have extra electoral votes the candidates would have cam pained differently, blah, blah, blah, and all the rest. the biggest role slavery plays -- it is not the one created at philadelphia because you voted two people -- two votes for president. you have an electoral college in which there is a separate vote for president and vice president, that is the 12th amendment system and slavery was very large. there is a whole book on it called negro president and it's not well known. as to how large a role slavery played in those early elections, when southerners ran against northerners. >> thank you so much. i wanted to notice that the chairman of the congressional black caucus, chairman j.k.
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butterfield has come into the panel and we welcome him. he's been here before during this hearing and if he wanted to make any observations, we would welcome him at this time. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman and to my colleagues -- >> thank you mr. chairman. and my fellow colleagues and thank you to the panelists, i really came to listen. this is a subject that i have a lot of interest in, everywhere i go in my district people are stopping me on the street wants to know about this thing called the electoral college. they had never heard of it before, some of them say. i don't know where they were in bush versus gore, but many people honestly truly do not understand the electoral college. and we've got to have a very
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robust debate now in this country about whether or not it's wise to continue with the electoral college system or whether we want to move and gravitate toward the popular vote. so i came here to listen because i don't have a -- an appropriate answer for people who confront me on this back at home, so i look forward to hearing as much as i can today. thank you very much. >> thank you, sir. let's continue with the rest of the panel. >> thank you mr. chairman. a number of questions have been raised particularly by representative scott, i will try to deal with them fairly succinctly. being historian, i don't believe in predicting anything, that is one of the trade marks of our discipline you have to prepare to be surprised at any given day, this was the days on november 8th and 9th and so on. but i want to say a couple things. if i wanted to imagine, what would be the most likely change in our system if we had a national popular vote to my way
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of thinking, done by article five amendment, rather than a potentially unstable inner state compact, i assume that if the parties were competitive nationally, which i believe they will continue to be, that the parties would at that point have a strong incentive to turn out their votes wherever their votes were. so they wouldn't just be hanging out in new york, l.a., the bay area, chicago and so on. parties would have to come up with a vat of strategies. that will be easier in the future than in the past. because social media gives you many more wasz to reach voters, that would be a net public good. i think we have the stake, you know in a democracy in maximizing public in the election, mnot feeling my vote s wasted. that's point number one. point number two, i think i agree with -- instead of thinking about how would you
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recount individual states, if you had a national popular vote, there would be only one constituency, let's call it the united states of america. to come up with a convenient phrase. and under the times, places and manner clause of the constitution, congress already has the authority to intervene and to determine how elections were to be conducted. so instead of having a chaotic set of voting systems, of course the butterfly ballot in west palm beach would be the classic example of this. the national government already possesses the constitutional authority to determine what is the one best method of collecting votes, i guess you want to have a paper trail and so on. instead of imagining this kind of chaotic system where states are free to do everything, actually you would have a basis for national liesing the basis on which americans vote, based on what we've seen in recent elections i think that would be a positive development. the idea of katherine gray and secretary of state for florida and also the chair of the bush
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2000 campaign committee being the responsible person to decide what to do about the florida recount, that's nuts. i think maybe we need a civil service basis for this. but i think -- i think that would be a net public good. to congressman johnson's point about the history of slavery, this is something that we have spoken about. i mean, the three fist clause is certainly an important factor in the original construction of the electoral college. i don't think it took place as the historian of writing the constitution, i don't think it took place in order to advantage slavery, it was part of a set of come pro mys where they ran out of time. as i said in my remarks, they ran out of time and they -- they built upon the whole set of compromises they made previously. but the tricky part of this, where i took position with this,
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is once you realize that the electoral college is there for partisan manipulation and on a state by state basis you can write and rewrite the rules for maximum partisan advantage, what takes place between 1796 and 1,800 and continuing off 1,800, and -- there is a whole set of rule changes, so if you take the 1800 election as your grade test point, you have to take into account all the other rule changes going on. so the system was not static. there was no one model. the reason i'm skepical of the conclusion, if you look at the congressional results and you compare the despairrity between what the state legislatures were doing, what actually happened the state congressional districts, the republican victory in 1,800 was so dramatic, they reversed a lopsided margin, that's the best index of where the american people were. if you go on that index, it's kind of the best marker of what popular sentiment was at a time
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when there were a variety of procedures for selectsing lech tors, while the slavery factor is important, it's not determinative or diseapositive. >> let me try to respond to several different issues, even if they leads me to disagree with my old friend and roommate in penny packer 25, the honorable robert scott. first, i would like to note for this group, a remarkable anniversary. we are exactly 200 years, it was in 1816 that a proposal for a national popular vote was first introduced in congress. exactly 200 years ago. and it was dismissed from consideration actually in part because of what it would do to
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the slave states. turning to more recent matters, i agree with jack in response to congressman scott's comments, the campaigns would change. i think they would change in some ways that are not foreseeable. i think that you would see intensive action in a lot of places. i loalso think it's reasonable think if you had a national election, we would have national election rules of one sort or another. i think that that would happen. i realize in some quarters that would be controversial, but i think you would get a national uniformity of election rules and i do not regard this as necessarily a bad thing. it seems to work in every other country in the world, that if you have the same rules governing elections in all parts of the country, i'm not quite sure why we would be ill-suited to do that. i also think it's the case that we might end up, not with more
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regionally based third parties which i think is an advantage to the electoral college, we might end up with nor ideologically based third parties across the nation, and that would be something to consider. and finally, response to congressman johnson's question about what were the other considerations going on in the minds of the framers, in addition to slavery. let me say two things in response to that. one is that there was this concern that a national election, which madison supported by the way, the national election would just not be logistically feasible and it would be hard to get candidates. that is certainly not an objection which obtains today. back then they didn't even have youtube, so there are all sorts of things we can do today. the other notable thing, this is my reading of the constitutional
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convention, other people may have read this differently, in all of its discussions that take place among the framers as they're going back and forth and trying to figure out how to choose a president and they don't really know and they keep changing their minds, there is never -- the concept that the people have a right to vote is never invoked. it's never mentioned. so we are talking about a very different political era, okay. >> mr. chairman, it's good that original intent is not something that we have relied upon around here. >> text actually it is important to note that the words the right to vote now appear five times in the constitution, in the 14th amendment section two and the 15th amendment and the 19th amendment and the 24th amendment and the 26th amendment. so it's precisely because of the legacy of slavery and racism and stuff that the founders could
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not acknowledge that, they didn't have anything in their original constitutions, the persons are equal only the states are equal and the senate when you look for words like equal and rights to vote, you won't find them in the original constitution, but i promise you today, when you look at your constitution and here i get to pull out my copy in honor of khan and tell you today the words right to vote appear not once but five times and equal appears there as well. >> mr. chairman, could i refresh the panelists memories on some of the points that i made that i have not heard them respond to and that is that elections have consequences. the electoral colle college ske consequences to the extent that the electoral college decides whether or not reconstruction survivors, it decides whether or not we have a massive change in how health care is done and medicare is done and
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secondarily, the point made about the strength of a compact. i think you had made the pay but didn't answer the question directly is whether or not it would stand constitutional muster, and then the third question was if you have a new generation of voters, who are literal in their thinking, which is one vote, one person, how do you engage them in the understanding of this fixture called the electoral college. so i would appreciate if the remaining three voters -- excuse me, remaining three panelists would respond to those questions or at least include those in your answers. thank you. >> mr. chairman, and members, in response to congress woman's comments, i had a couple thoughts, i wanted to let you know in arizona and the arizona house, we actually passed the national popular vote in the house bipartisanly, 20 republicans and 20 democrats. which i think was one of your
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questions a little bit earlier. i would differ as far as stating that the electoral college, itself is skewing outcomes and i would point out that i think one fix to the problem that we currently have and it's a difficult fix, when you look at states like california, republican voters are district enfranchised when it comes to electing our president in california. and you go to texas and democratic voters are disenfranchised there. so i would say that one potential fix is that we don't have winner-take-all states. that any electors are then awarded proportionally to the votes that are cast. for example, california i think had a third republicans whose votes didn't really mean anything because no electors were awarded. i would like to remind members that you know, the way that our
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system of governance is, we are a republic of course and as a representative of our government, you have representatives in be wash washington, our house members are elected directly. originally our senators were elected and selected by our state legislators until the 17th amendment was enacted. so our framers of the constitution actually had different thoughts in mind when it came to how different people were being selected. and then of course, our legislators, are selecting electors to represent the will of the states when it comes to the electoral college. the congress, of course, you know, i have heard some comments today about just the system in general, you know, the electoral college, from my understanding comes from an english tradition, it wasn't something that the
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framers of our constitution nilly willy came up with. you had different aspects of our constitution were borrowed from other countries and other forms of government to see if they made sense. and you know, when comment -- i'm not trying to be you know, judgmental or anything, but you know, if congress -- you voice some concerns about, you know, the way that the electoral college behaves and works and whether it might be disenfranchising, well, it's been around a long time, so you think about our history as a nation, congress could have mustered up the two-thirds to pass the amendment at any time at any point and especially after the civil war, if the electoral college and that system of selecting a president was deemed to be somehow biased. certainly after the civil war, this is something that should have been looked upon and yet i think we only really talk about
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it when we run into a situation like we do in 2016 with our current election. thank you very much. >> mr. chairman, i had a few comments. >> yes, by all means. >> thank you. i will start by taking a crack at congresswoman lee's question around particularly how do we explain our system to young people. and as a member of the vermont house i represented a great majority of university of vermont's campus for the better part of ten years and registering voters was difficult. and when i would really tease out why that was, often case it was this feeling that my vote doesn't matter. or we would run into students that live in pennsylvania or new hampshire and they would in a somewhat perverse way say i'm from pennsylvania i must vote there and we would say absolutely you need to vote
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there. so just an oddity of our system. i think also others have asked, what would a campaign, a national popular vote campaign look like. and we are so fixed on winning state x and y and red and blue map, but if you are talking about getting the most votes in the country, it's no longer of particular interest to win a state. it is of intense interest to run up margins in the states where you are going to win and minimize losses in the states where you cannot prevail. so in new england, we all watched new hampshire in 2012, they spent some $35 million campaigning in infonew hampshir. that would change. there would presumably be some kind of spreading out of those resources throughout new england. and in a state like vermont, we delivered routinely the highest, first or second highest
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percentage for any -- of any state for president obama in his election and in his reelection. you could not go to democratic headquarters -- 80 miles from my house across the river they were begging people to take it. i illustrate how extremely and deliberately shut out how states are. in 2004 running up to bush's reelection, the white house and the campaign admitted that they've been polling for two years in 18 states. so in that era, 32 states were not even of interest to their opinions. this is how shut out we are. under a popular vote, it becomes about absolutely about margins everywhere and you try to minimize places where you've been losing under winner-take-all, it doesn't make any difference if you lose vermont or any state by 2% or 20%. you've lost the same prize. under a popular vote, it's about
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margins everywhere and democrats is going to say to us in vermont get me extra votes i want to offset the drumming i'm taking in alabama. if people are worried about recounts you ought to be worried about them today, they're prevalent today. prior to this election we've had five litigated counts. and therefore called into question results of our election. in those five cases, we had no question who had the most votes in the country. and after all, if there is ten of us in this room and we vote on something, we are far more likely to tie than if there are a thousand of us in this room. when you expand the franchise so that you treat every vote equal out of 130 odd million votes, the chances of a very close election go down. right now we are carving the country up into 51 little pools and as we saw in 2000 and we're seeing in other times, there was a big question of who prevailed
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in florida in 2000. there was zero question in that election who had the most votes in the country. so as we grow the pool and we lump the country into one pool of voters, the chance of recount is greatly dim in i guessed. now, should we need a recount in that case, congress does have authority to create uniform rules, states themselves of course do have rules around recounts, but it is a bigger problem, it's a bigger likelihood of having problems today, in fact we have seen problems with recounts, the timeline is very condensed. and it is a bigger irritant under the winner-take-all system than it would be under national popular vote. finally, folks have mentioned potentially stability if you go the compact route where states are changing their state laws. to some there is a advantage if there is some unanticipated outcome, not of the election itself but the process, of
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course it's easier than had we amended the constitution to undo an amendment easier to change state law back. but i will say that the idea that legislators who have made this change, who are, after all, creating a system that far too many americans think already is the case, would have a hard time looking at constituents and saying we really have to back away from a one person, one vote person, where the candidate with the most vote ds wins the election and go to the old winner-take-all system that is part of the constitution. i think the political reality actually creates a great deal of stability through state action. but to some segment of particularly my conservative colleagues in states, they very much favor keeping this power within the states and they like that it's a benefit that maybe people could decide to change their mind back out of a popular vote. >> mr. neal, did you feel --
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>> i would like to add. >> -- tendency to say something at this point. >> small comment. first historically, if we look at the three-fifths rule, if you look back, drill down into the constitutional convention, that was initially established as part of the formula for representation in the house of representatives and for direct taxation. and it is arguable that along with the great compromise, con neck ti cut compromise, between the house and representatives, without the three-fifths compromise the south may not have gone along, they might have withdrawn from the convention. if the electoral college was tainted by its association with this initial three-fifths compromise, it was more by extension. as one of the other panelists pointed out very accurately, late in the convention, the electoral college was the best
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they could get and it was something everyone could agree on. secondly, with another historical reference with respect to representative jackson lee, the hayes, tilden event, if you look at the progress of participation and self governance by african-americans in the south after the civil war, there certainly seemed to have been reached a kind of mow dust -- the confederates didn't like it but they actually worked with the african-american office holders and the hayes, tilden compromised withdrew -- from the former confederacy and it also essentially gave a blank check to jim crow for another 70 or 80 years so i think your point is well taken, ma'am. with respect to the mpv, the more interesting points made today was the possibility that
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the nashlg popular vote initiative could be a halfway house, which might ultimately lead to direct popular election through constitutional amendment, which the panelists suggested was probably the ultimately the best goal. another interesting point is the -- i watched over the years with respect to proposed amendments that deal with the electoral college. there has been an increasing interest among members, there was an increasing interest. mr. green was always very active in this. that would enhance the authority of the united states government through its authority over the times, places and manner of holding elections, and some of the other panelists mentioned this here today as well. it is something that the states might complain about, but on the other hand, if it were to -- if
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there were to be a federal, greater federal role in the way our elections are administered, conducted and perhaps financed, the states might not be arguably might not be so unhappy with that. and finally, the -- that might also, you would really need, i think this was pointed out by the other panelists, if you are going to have a national recount, you are going to have to have some manner of doing it on a uniform basis across the country. because there are 50 different statutes on the books in the states right now and it's very difficult to do that. finally, with respect to constitutional amendment for direct popular election, constitutional amendments as was said earlier is difficult to get through. my experience from studying the amendment process is either amendments are either the result of a long building up of public support until it becomes obvious that they're national majority is in favor of it or it can be
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the result of a an event such as with respect to the 25th amendment, the assassination of president kennedy. both of these factors are very helpful. and the third factor is the attention and support of members of congress and the leadership in congress. now, for many years i used to say that if we ever had a so-called misfire, that there would probably be action in congress to push for a constitutional amendment. well, we had one in 2000. congress did respond. it was through the help america vote act, which i don't think i heard mention here today and that was very useful legislation to provide improved and enhanced federal standards and grants in aide to the states to improve their election administration procedures and particularly their hardware. so there has been work on this in congress and it's a
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possibility, i can't speculate, that this cat liesing event here that we have seen, may lead to further developments. so i just -- >> mr. scott? >> thank you. on this recount, one of the things about a state recount, if you have a recount, you would assume that both sides are going to be well represented. if you have a national recount in each state, you may not, in fact, have both sides well represented and you might have different election laws. same day registration, if you are running up the vote, the election laws can be extremely helpful, that's why one of the things that you have suggested is there has to be national standards. which would eliminate the voter suppression laws that some states enact. but i would hope that we would get that straight before we go to a popular vote so you wouldn't have some states doing their own recounts, changing their election laws to allow
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same day registration and everything else, no counting, no certifying results that are absurd on their face and we're faced with having to accept that or i don't know what you would do. but if we had the federal mechanism in place first, then i think you would have something that makes sense. one -- couple of other things. we haven't heard -- i haven't heard any comment about whether or not running up the score in one state would produce a better president than in the close states trying to get from 49 to 51. which would produce the better candidate, particularly if it's a swing state where you have to get -- you have to cover half the country. you got to get to 270. you could get a popular vote running up the score in a region
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and holding your own in the rest and, which is actually better. and finally, one of the things that could be helpful in this is if you had a runoff. if you have a bunch of candidates getting 25%, 30%, whether or not you would have a runoff, and would the cutoff be 50% or something lower. any comments? >> on those three questions, first, you are absolutely right, representative, that we are going to need national standards, not just for the recount, but for the count and in effect for voting, because in an electoral college world, the states actually don't have a particular incentive to make it easy to vote. you get the same number of electoral votes in 1910 whether you let women vote or not, where as in a direct election you double your clout, if you let women vote. so in a direct election world,
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it is true, and it is a concern and i tried to address it as i thought through the ideas that became the national popular vote interstate compact. you need national over sight, california might say hey, let's let 17 year olds vote and texas says hey, let's let 16 years old vote and we say let's let dogs vote. you are going to need. this is a good thing, not a bad thing, to have a national law that you all would draft, implementing a national right to vote because the founders didn't have that phrase right to vote in the constitution you now have it five times. and the deep idea that all votes are counted equally and no voter is more valuable than any other voter, whether in a swing state or not, urban or ex urban or rural, that deep idea will not
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be vindicated if you count them and you don't have completely different rules on how you can vote and not vote. you need that up front. whether it's required or not by article -- by the interstate compact clause, it is what will make the system actually work. it's to be admired and other countries do it. as to whether it's better to have candidates who try to rack up votes in their bases or just appeal to swing -- that is basically the same issue frankly that exists in states. we could just count -- we could say swing counties rather than swing states. do you try to, in california, rack up the vote, you know, in urban areas, or do you try to instead have a different kind of appeal where you might not rack up as many votes there but you will lose fewer votes in anti-urban areas, and my claim
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is we have many states that are quite diverse and they're dig. and they look like america, whether we call them ohio or pennsylvania or california or texas, and our governors are just fine with one person, one vote, uniform standards. but the system will change if we move to that and we can't fully predict all the changes. what we can say is we can look at governors, i don't think they're a bad model and the rest of the world. no one else has the electoral college, no state and no international counterpart and that system seems to work pretty well for those places. >> chairman? >> yes. >> i want to put something in the record. you have been very indulgent with your time and get a quick yes or no. i said at the beginning, i think this is been a rewarding and
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constructive and particularly grounded in the constitution and otherwise hearing. and i believe it is important now that we're on i think our fifth popular vote, if i have the count right, popular vote conflict between electoral college, that we have official, important and on going hearings on the question of presidential elections, which include the electoral college and the house and senate. can i just get a quick yes or no from each -- >> amen. >> you into ed to need to be ve >> congressional research service will support congress whatever decision you make. >> i know you will. i forget your limitations but thank you for that. mr. chairman, i have a letter asking for those hearings. thank you. >> you want to put it in the record. >> yes, sir, i would like to do so. that's unanimous consent.
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you are back. thank you, gentlemen. >> there is some other comment that we want to hear from before we close down? >> mr. chairman? >> okay. >> i would like to make a very brief comment interstate compact and the notion of a weigh station. there are two different ways of thinking about a weigh station. one is where you get it and see how it works and move tune amendment. my own view is to think of the interstate compact as a way of mobilizing political support for changing the system and that if you got very close, then that could be channeled into a move for an amendment. >> okay. yes, sir? >> mr. chairman, and with regard to representative scott's comment, i understood it, yeah, you made a comment to the effect of, do we end up with a better candidate at the end? you look at this particular election cycle starting with 17 republican candidates and i think we had four democratic candidates, and it's really through that primary process
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that a party chooses a candidate. of course, it's a party-based process. and so the one thing i would voice is i'm a -- i consider myself a federalist and a constitutionalist and i would be concerned that right now we have a u.s. justice department that can at times be very overreaching when it comes to stamping down the states and not necessarily treating us as sovereigns when it comes to our election laws and how we have our elections. goodness, if the state of arizona has a policy that disenfranchises individuals or groups based upon any criteria, you know, it's going to make headline news, and we're not going to be able to move forward with that. we're going to be dealt with accordingly. so the last thing i would want
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to see is the federal government take away more of our sovereignty at the state level to run our business when it comes to elections. that we don't need to be micromanaged. and if there are grievances from individuals or groups because they feel that we're being unfair, then those need to be brought out in the light of day and if we are making mistakes, whether accidentally or on purpose, we need to, you know, correct those mistakes. thank you very much. >> mr. pearson, did you want to close this down? >> i'd be honored to, sir. >> all right. >> one final comment in regard to representative scott's deep concern about the differentiation between state laws, particularly under national popular vote. this is the system today and we live with those results today. and i would argue they have a very deep impact today. outsized influence today. surely we would agree florida's
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use of the chad ballot in 2000 had enormous implications that the rest of the country had to live with. sunday voting in ohio or lack thereof has a major influence on our elections. voter i.d. laws in wisconsin is going to ripple through the future of our country. when we routinely have a system that comes down to 5 to 12 battleground states and we live under the vafiation of those states' laws, we are going to already see an outsized influence over the variation in state law. when you lump everybody together, i would argue it minimizes the impact of that variation. >> mr. scott? >> we've had comments that the electoral college doesn't exist anywhere else. actually, it exists in the city of richmond, virginia, where your elected mayor by carrying 5 of 9 wards.
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>> on that note, i want to thank the panelists for an excellent discussion. there were seven of you initially, but this has worked out well. i also congratulate not only my colleagues but my colleagues who were able to stay with us throughout the entire discussion. ms. lee and mr. scott, i thank you very much for being here today for your contributions. and with that, i declare this hearing adjourned.
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sunday on american history tv on c-span3 -- at 1:00 p.m. eastern, a symposium on world war ii spies and code breakers. an american family who aided the french resistance in nazi-occupi nazi-occupied france. >> she had a 15-year-old son, philip jackson. by deciding to use 11th avenue foch as a place the resistance could meet she was risking not only her life but her husband and son's life. >> in the 1920s, nicola sacco and venzetti were tried, convicted and executed for robbery and murder in massachusetts despite the lack of supporting evidence. brad snyder discusses the controversy surrounding the case with introductions by ruth bader
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ginsburg. >> at 9:10 p.m. on august 3rd, sacco and venzetti were transferred to the death house. the governor declared that sacco and venzetti had a fair trial. the boston press declared the case closed. >> at 8:00 on the presidency, historian george nash talks about her bert hoover's humanitarian efforts during world war i and ii. >> in the course of these exertions, hoover, working voluntarily and without pay became an international hero. the embodiment of a new force in global politics. american benevolence in the form of humanitarian aid programs. >> for complete american history tv schedule, go to c-span's student cam documentary contest is in full swing. this year we're asking students
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to tell us what's the most important issue for the new president and the new congress to address in 2017. joining me is ashley lee. she's a former student cam winner of 2015 for her documentary, hope for homeless heros. tell us about your student cam documentary. >> in 2015, we produced a documentary where we covered the issues of homeless veterans on the streets of orange county, california. we decide these are people who have fought for our country and given it all for our country and the fact they are now living on the streets, not having family, not having anyone to care for them were not okay. so we decided that we're going to talk about this issue within our community and decided to make a c-span documentary about it. i encourage all seniors in high school, even juniors in high school and middle schoolers to use this platform to speak your voice, to raise your voice to say your generation deserve to
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be heard in government and if there is a better place to speak these issues, this is it. i think my advice for the students who are on the fence of starting this documentary is to really look into your community and see what is affecting those around you because they are the one who you love. they are the one who you see the most. they are the one you surround with most every day. so if there's an issue that you see happen every day on the street, that's probably where you can start. be a part of this documentary because you want to be a voice for your community. >> thank you ashley, for all of your advice and tips on student cam. if you want more information on our student cam documentary contest go to our website, tonight on c-span3 -- a look at efforts to combat child trafficking. after that, a house oversight
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hearing on government classification rules. then oklahoma city senator james inhofe talks about the environment. and later, vice president biden shares his thoughts on governing and the u.s. political system. now, a look at efforts to combat child trafficking. speakers discuss how human trafficking his evolved over the years and the role technology has in monitoring at-risk children. from the center for strategic and international studies, this is an hour. . we're going to get started. i'm dan run de. i hold a chair here at csis. we're going to be having a conversation about combath child


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